Show the Whole Picture: 3 Keys to Improving Employee Satisfaction Through Total Rewards Transparency

blog_picIf “a picture is worth a thousand words”… what is ½ a picture worth?  Or ¼ of a picture?  Without the benefit of the entire picture, it is impossible to determine its worth because we can’t assign value to the parts we don’t have visibility into.

Consider golf. Although knowing how far you need to hit your next shot is crucial in determining which club to use, it doesn’t reveal the whole picture. Which direction is the wind going?  Is the shot uphill? Downhill?  Do you need to carry a sand trap? Without recognizing all of variables, executing a good shot becomes much more difficult. (Not to mention that if your golf game is anything like mine, quite often all the information in the world is not going to help. Oh well, at least my golf swing is better than Charles Barkley’s!).

Most employees clearly know how much they make as it relates to compensation, but how many  have the complete, accurate picture of the total rewards they are receiving from their employer? For this Big Picture, they have to take into consideration not only base pay but also commissions, benefits, retirement contributions, stock options, and the value from other perks and corporate programs.

A summary of key findings regarding employee benefits education from an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Unum revealed that just 29% of employees felt they had received “effective education” regarding their benefits. That same survey indicated how employees perceive benefits education quality correlates to how they rate both the quality of the benefits packages offered and the organization as a place to work.  88% of employees who felt the benefits education they received was strong also indicated they were satisfied with their job currently and would recommend the organization as a good place to work. The research suggests the correlation between education and employee satisfaction holds up even when the benefits packages available are not particularly strong.

Another study from WorldatWork and The Leblanc Group summarized here found that “people understand base pay decisions, but they do not understand how or why these decisions are made. In turn, the less knowledge employees reported having about base pay policies, the less satisfied they were with their pay. Knowledge is obviously the key in this process, and employees who feel more deeply entrenched in the workings of the company and enlightened with the knowledge of the process are happier to be a part of the organization.”

The value of communicating employee total rewards information is undeniable when it comes to increasing engagement and retention. However, because the nature of total rewards information is constantly changing, paper-based statements often disappoint, as they are inflexible and essentially out of date by the time they reach employees. As such, many organizations are turning to online total rewards statements to deliver a more agile and current experience. But technology alone does not ensure a strategic approach. Here are some key considerations to deploying total rewards statements successfully:

  1. Communication

Make sure that employees have absolute clarity on where they can access total rewards information.

  • Treat the unveiling of this new level of accessibility as you would a new product launch — leverage both traditional and social media tools to build buzz and get the word out to employees.
  • Hold lunch and learn training sessions and/or webinars to show the statements off and field questions.
  • Integrate with existing systems to create a single-sign on ”one-stop shop” for employees to go for all employee communications.
  • Set up automated, personalized email reminders to drive awareness of new programs as they are introduced.
  1. Timeliness

Total Rewards Statements lose a great deal of effectiveness when they are static. Deliver an interactive, timely experience so that employees are always seeing the most up-to-date information.

  • Anywhere, anytime accessibility.
  • Single source for all benefits (base and variable pay, shares, health and wellness, retirement, protection benefits, unique corporate programs).
  • Automatically refreshed to present current information.
  1. Engagement

Make sure that your solution is fun and easy for employees to use. Personalize your total rewards statements, wherever possible.  Highlight unique company programs and benefits.

  • Look and feel should be intuitive and consistent with company brand / culture.
  • Multi-lingual / multi-currency (if applicable).
  • Offer integrated communication tools to help employees find the best information and encourage conversation through employee social networks.
  • Measure adoption / program participation levels and collect ongoing feedback to understand how the program is being used, what do employees find the most valuable, and what areas should be targeted for improvement.

No doubt, there are certainly additional factors in deploying a winning total rewards strategy.  These tips are a good starting point to making sure employees see “the whole picture.”

Anyone interested in continuing the conversation, I encourage you to sign up for a complimentary upcoming webinar on a employee benefits education and total rewards statements.

Now, if anyone has any pointers on how I can improve my golf game, I’m all ears!

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